Orange Crush

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem that contains the largest number of serotonin containing (serotonergic) neurons in the brain. Serotonin participates in mood setting, sleep, social behavior, and many other things. Another cell type in this area are neurons that contain Glutamate Decarboxylase 1 (Gad1), which helps produce gamma-aminobutyeric acid (GABA), the … Continue reading Orange Crush

How to Keep Electronics Warm in Space? Use Hot Wax

by Ryan McGillicuddy figures by Sean Wilson When I think of the challenges associated with exploring space, I usually think of explosive rockets, speeding meteorites, deadly radiation, and the empty vacuum of space. Admittedly, my first worry about space is not the freezing temperatures. But in reality, temperature control in space is a challenge that NASA constantly faces. For example, the sun-facing side of the … Continue reading How to Keep Electronics Warm in Space? Use Hot Wax

Eating for a Trillion: Can your microbiome be the key to long-lasting weight loss?

by Jemila C Kester, PhD figures by Rebecca Clements In the Seinfeld episode “The Stranded,” Jerry is choosing between two cold medicines. “This is quick-acting, but this is long-lasting,” he notes. “When do I need to feel good, now or later?” We often face a similar dilemma when choosing a particular diet as weight-loss “medicine.” With a third of American adults overweight, there’s a veritable … Continue reading Eating for a Trillion: Can your microbiome be the key to long-lasting weight loss?

Sweet Serotonin

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem, which is found towards the back of your brain. The DRN contains the largest number of serotonin-containing neurons, called serotonergic neurons, in the brain. You may recognize serotonin from the drug advertisements on TV, as it is a popular target for treating depression. Unsurprisingly, serotonin is … Continue reading Sweet Serotonin

Dogs with muscular dystrophy receive CRISPR treatment: What does this mean for humans?

In an exciting step forward, dogs with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) were treated with the CRISPR genome editor to restore production of the missing protein responsible for the disease. After more studies to prove it is safe and effective long-term, this has the potential to move into clinical trials as a DMD therapy. “[The dogs] showed obvious signs of behavioral improvement – running, jumping – … Continue reading Dogs with muscular dystrophy receive CRISPR treatment: What does this mean for humans?

The Frustrating Search for New Physics

by Daniel Ang figures by Aparna Nathan Particle physics says that the universe shouldn’t exist. This is a radical claim! But if the current theories that underlie particle physics are correct and complete, then the Big Bang that birthed the universe would have simply resulted in a massive flash of light. Nothing else would remain – no stars, planets or galaxies. And neither you nor … Continue reading The Frustrating Search for New Physics

Amygdala On My Mind

The amygdala is an area of the brain named for its almond shape (amygdala is Latin for almond). The amygdala is necessary for any biologically significant event, or anything related to survival, because of its involvement in decision-making, memory, and emotional responses, including both positive and negative. The amygdala is most commonly known for its role in aversive learning, in which a behavior is taught … Continue reading Amygdala On My Mind

Looking for a Trash Can: Nuclear waste management in the United States

by Madeleine Jennewein figures by Rebecca Senft Across the United States, nuclear waste is accumulating in poorly maintained piles. 90,000 metric tons of nuclear waste requiring disposal are currently in temporary storage. The United States, however, has yet to construct a long-term storage solution for this waste, leaving the nuclear material vulnerable to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, rising sea levels, and wildfire. Nuclear … Continue reading Looking for a Trash Can: Nuclear waste management in the United States

How Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Services Led to the Capture of the Golden State Killer

by Raehoon Jeong figures by Jovana Andrejevic Like fingerprints, each person’s DNA, or genetic code, is unique. Therefore, DNA evidence from traces like hair or blood found at crime scenes can be used to exonerate or incriminate suspects. However, DNA evidence is generally only helpful when it matches the DNA of a suspect or of someone in the FBI’s criminal database. Oftentimes, this is not … Continue reading How Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Services Led to the Capture of the Golden State Killer